Thursday, June 25, 2009

Say What?

My buddy Doc and I had a brief, relatively conflict-free discussion about healthcare legislation yesterday, something that excites me about as much as talk about someone else's diet. However, Doc has interesting thoughts, so I held on. He did make one assertion that just astounded me: he told me that Medicare/Medicaid were underfunded! Wow. I didn't have the figures in front of me at the time. I do now. From the Congressional Research Service:
The President [Bush]’s 2009 budget estimates current law Medicare net outlays of $413 billion in FY2009. The budget includes Medicare legislative proposals with estimated savings of $12.2 billion in FY2009 and $178 billion over the five-year budget window. (Emphasis mine.)

Dang. $413 billion. That's just over $1,375 per American citizen, which covers most private insurance premiums for a year, if that's the way the program were run, but of course it's not. Direct handouts or insurance vouchers to citizens could work if they were allowed to purchase private plans, but that's not how federal bureaucracies work. Last time I looked, 72 cents out of every dollar in Medicare/Medicaid goes to covering overhead--government employees.

But let's go back to just talking money. Not everyone is being covered by Medicare and Medicaid. So that means that MORE than $1,375 of federal dollars per person are being spent on Medicare/Medicaid insurance. When is enough enough?
On the plus side, Doc and I get along on a sheer geekitude level (he's much more savvy on both English lit and science fiction than I am, plus a master on things like comic books and the internet), and he did have a couple of cool links of interest, which I must share:
  • Last Exit to Nowhere, a site that sells shirts for companies or organizations that appear in movies. For example, Cyberdyne from Terminator or the Tyrell Corporation from Blade Runner.
  • Shirt.Woot, which offers up a variety of clever logos from random(?) artists, which visitors vote on. The logos that get the most votes get their shirts published.

These are both akin to CafePress, which neither of us could think of at the time. Self-publishing for t-shirts: the internet is an interesting place.

No comments: